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Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Yes, life is a gift but a nicer gift the longer one's general health (physical and mental) lasts. I do think one should live for each day, but a certain amount of activities require planning and, with no knowledge of when you are going to drop out of the world, it is difficult to plan. A knee operation is actually a good exemplar. If it goes well, it can make all the difference to having an active life – and I know many people who thank their lucky stars to have had one (or, indeed, two). Without one, life gets progressively more difficult. It's a real gamble. Being an inveterate optimist, I would probably have one in the situation. My lovely husband is, however, a pessimist. It takes all kinds.

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I’m the mom, and I have had two knee replacements and two hip replacements. I hike and walk and tend a yard and am thankful every day to have suffered through the surgeries and PT in order to have the freedom I do at 80. Would I want to know the date and time I would die? Hmmm, Don’t know. I just live each day with gusto and gratitude and friendship and volunteering and family and am learning how to play a new tune on my Native American flute because my arthritic fingers can’t press with enough pressure to play my violin anymore - that was a wonderful chapter but I’m in a new one now.

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It sounds like you live a good life. You might also like this https://arichardson.substack.com/p/the-great-escape, which I sent your son. Indeed, you might like my newsletter as I am 82 (just turned) and I write, inter alia, about being old. I positively like being old and have written a lot about why, especially in my book The Granny Who Stands on her Head: reflections on growing older.

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Very nice. I like thinking about death too, in the sense that I just want to be very clearly eyed about what it is so I don't build up a lot of fear. And speaking of knee replacements, I had mine 16 days ago, and I'm just shy of my 60th birthday. My thought was: I want to be active as hell for at least another 20 years, so I better get this darned knee in shape. Now my goal is to get back on a mountaintop under my own power. I'll share this with my mom: she's 81 and she'll like it too.

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Good luck with your recovery. It's a bit tedious, but worth it in the end. My husband is walking well now – I am so glad he decided to go ahead. You might also like this: https://arichardson.substack.com/p/the-great-escape

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A very interesting post. I liked the Socrates story. The power of now? Accepting mortality but not being passively resigned to unnecessary suffering in the moment?

I found myself thinking of my mother who's in her nineties and her increasing complaints about everything wearing out and needing replacement-the carpets, the freezer, the cooker. Sometimes she talks as if death is imminent, everything is futile then the next minute she's cheerfully reminding us that her own mother lived til she was ninety nine, only just missing her telegram from the Queen. Mum's old gas cooker really does need replacing but would she learn how to operate a new one now they're all fitted with child proof safety ignition which even I struggled to get the hang of.

Replacing body parts is of course are very different. As you say a knee operation can make a big difference to the quality of life-less pain and increased mobility. I'm not a great optimist but remember discussions with patients who had knee surgery and though some disliked the physio afterwards I can't think of any who regretted having the surgery. Best wishes to you and your husband.

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We are all learning to play the flute! A very enjoyable piece, thank you!

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As usual you have presented a personal situation that raises a valid question. Do you live for today, your family, the future? If you live for each day, you can incorporate any and all aspects of interest in a schedule. Whether or not you complete the schedule isn't my point. My point is that by creating a positive listing of activities...mental and physical, you are looking on the positive side of life. It is a gift, no matter how long it lasts. As for surgery, or no surgery... once again how would that decision impact your life today?

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